Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.
June 9, 2022 by Learning Ally
For Immediate Release
June 9, 2022 - Princeton, NJ – Learning Ally, a national nonprofit with a mission of “literacy for all” in U.S. schools, has announced the student winners of its 2022 National Achievement Awards.
The National Achievement Awards is a component of the organization’s Whole Child Literacy approach to ensure more students with reading deficits achieve mastery of critical literacy skills informed by the science of reading, cognitive and environmental factors, and social and emotional learning, with the support of Learning Ally’s seven-time award-winning Audiobook Solution. Each student recipient receives a $3,000 to $6,000 endowed scholarship named for two longtime advocates of the organization – Marion Huber and Mary P. Oenslager.
For more than 60 years, their families continue their legacy to provide financial support. The program rewards students in high school and higher education who overcame great obstacles to achieve extraordinary academic progress, promote self-advocacy, and provide community service to others.
Dr. Terrie Noland, Vice President of Learning Ally said, "Each year, we feel especially proud to honor these exemplary students, and to carry on the mission of the two women who saw a great need for education equity in schools long ago. Students selected for the National Achievement Awards are exceptional role models. They clearly demonstrate extraordinary achievements given the right skills, resources, and emotional fortitude. They lift us up, and reshape our expectations of what students with learning challenges can and will achieve.”
Recipients of the 2022 Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Award (LTL):
Thomas J. Rayburn, Madison, AL
Ella Doerr, Avon, NC
Samantha Bachofen, Waterford, WI
May Hopkins, Oakland, CA
Recipient of the 2022 Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Award (SAA):
Tatiana Clautaire, Spring Valley, NY
Winners of this award are selected by an esteemed National Selection Committee who are champions of student success. To learn more about each winner, visit learningally.org/naa.
Educators and parents working with high school students with blindness or visual impairments or learning disabilities who graduate in the years of 2021-2023 and first-year college students can review the application process for student members who meet eligibility criteria.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a leading education nonprofit dedicated to equipping educators with proven solutions that help new and struggling learners reach their potential. Our range of literacy-focused offerings for students in Pre-K to 12th grade and catalog of professional learning allows us to support more than 1.6 million students and 260,000 educators through our solutions and community, across the United States.
Categories: Blind or Visually Impaired, General, In the News, Learning Disabilities, National Achievement Awards, Press Releases, Reading Champions, Students
May 13, 2022 by Learning Ally
On Sunday, May 15 and Monday, May 16, a lunar eclipse will occur. This astronomical phenomenon occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon line up properly for the moon to pass into the Earth's shadow. Roughly three times a year, the moon passes through at least part of the Earth's shadow.
Because our moon's orbit is tilted, lunar eclipses do not occur every time the moon makes its monthly trek around our planet. It can only happen during a full moon, so we are likely to experience it just twice a year.
To catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse and "blood moon," you'll have to stay awake late into the night and early morning. The term "blood moon" is used by many astronomy experts and writers to describe the rusty orange or reddish color glow the moon becomes from the light reflecting from the sun.
Learning Ally has many enjoyable and informative audiobooks about the sky, the sun, astronomy, and our universe. Search on a specific category or use keywords to find titles that will interest learners of any age in our Browse Audiobooks section.
For additional resources, PBS has excellent videos to demonstrate the mechanics of lunar eclipses to view and engage students with visualizations that show the alignment of the Moon, the Sun, and Earth from multiple perspectives.
Happy sky watching!
Categories: Activities, Audiobook Library, Parenting, Reading Champions, Students
January 31, 2022 by Jhara Navalo
In honor of Chinese New Year, we have selected some engaging audiobooks from our diverse libraries in support of the Asian American experience.. Suggest these titles to your children and then engage them in conversation regarding what they learned and liked about the books they read.
by Teresa Robeson
Elementary: Grades 0-3
This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the "Queen of Physics" for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.
by Augusta Scattergood
Middle School: Grades 5-7
Billy's great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren't friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.
by Stacey Lee
Middle School: Grades 7+
Seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.
by Gene Luen Yang
High School: Grades 9-12
A tour-de-force by rising indy comics star Gene Yang, American Born Chinesetells the story of three apparently unrelated characters lives and stories come together with an unexpected twistin this action-packed modern fable.
by Adrienne Berard
The girls were Chinese American and considered by the school to be "colored"; the school was for whites. This event would lead to the first US Supreme Court case to challenge the constitutionality of racial segregation in Southern public schools, an astonishing thirty years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Unearthing one of the greatest stories never told, journalist Adrienne Berard recounts how three unlikely heroes sought to shape a new South.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally's reading accommodation and audiobooks will help you level the learning field for students with reading deficits. Use the library to ensure that all students receive equitable access to grade-level text on their intellectual level, as well as to popular books and genres that interest them. Learn more about membership or if you are a school representative sign up for a demo to experience the satisfaction of seeing your emerging and early learners, as well as older students, improve their foundational reading skills, learning confidence, and academic potential.
Categories: Audiobook Library
January 28, 2022 by Jhara Navalo
Through years of struggle, strife and resilience Black Americans have been at the forefront of changing laws, policies, and perspectives relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Check out our Learning Ally blog including a list of good reads.. This is a great opportunity to sit with your child, get immersed in American history and facilitate family conversations regarding past and current civil rights issues.
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Elementary School: Grades 0-3
A portrait of the great African-American dancer and choreographer describes Alvin Ailey's early life, his growth as a dancer, and his creation of his own critically acclaimed dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, in 1958.
by Margot Lee Shetterly
Elementary School: Grades 0-3
Based on a true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math... really good. They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space.
by Chris Barton
Elementary School: Grades 2-5
Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.
by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Middle School: Grades 5-7
It was from other field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia. Throughout her long life (she died at the age of ninety-two) and long after the Civil War brought an end to slavery, this amazing woman was proof of what just one person can do.
by Carol Boston Weatherford
Middle School: Grades 5-7
Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk's life's passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages.
by Tonya Bolden
High School: Grades 7-9
Facing Frederick captures the whole complicated, and at times perplexing, person that he was. Statesman, suffragist, writer, and newspaperman, this book focuses on Douglass the man rather than the historical icon.
by Ilyasah Shabazz
High School: Grades 9+
X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.
January 27, 2022 by Jhara Navalo
Prying your child's fingers from their tablet can be frustrating, but there is an alternative to passive screen time – human-read audiobooks. When you become a new member of Learning Ally, you can download engaging age-appropriate audiobooks for your child to listen and learn with their eyes, ears, and minds.
Reading with audiobooks spark interests, build memory mass, and prepare children to learn these fundamental reading skills:
A study by The National Institutes of Health in 2018 found that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests. Some children staring at a screen for more than seven hours a day experienced thinning of the brain's cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning. This study, and similar findings, give us pause, especially in the pandemic when we are cooped up and looking for alternatives.
Audiobooks are especially beneficial for children who are emergent and reluctant readers, and those with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. You can pause and discuss a story, identify vocabulary words and their definitions, reward your child for learning novel words and answering comprehension questions. You can act out scenes and character roles, an activity your whole family will enjoy. In this article, we offer five award-winning books for the purpose of exciting children to read.
Dr. Jennifer F. Cross, attending pediatrician and a developmental and behavioral pediatrics expert at New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, says, “If young children spend most of their time engaging with an iPad, smartphone, or television, it can be hard to get them engaged in other activities to foster imagination and creativity, like exploring outdoors, and playing with other children to develop social skills. Children who watch a lot of television during the early years perform less well on reading tests and may show deficits in attention.”
Learning Ally audiobooks can enrich reading engagement. They are unique in that subject experts, skilled voice artists, and volunteers narrate the stories to make them come to life, versus the drone of a computerized voice. You might be interested to know that when a child reads for twenty minutes a day or twenty or more times with consistency, it is proven that they will develop a pattern of reading frequency likely to increase their reading level.
Eligible members of Learning Ally can browse the audiobook library by grade, Lexile Level, subject, topic, category, or curriculum and access more than 80,000 "human-narrated" audiobooks that children need for school and can read for pleasure. Find culturally-relevant titles that enrich your child's own identity.
There is no time like the present to become a member and introduce your child to the world of audiobooks to open their eyes, ears, and minds to the wonderful world of reading.
Categories: Assistive Technology